Sunday, April 01, 2007

The full picture

John McCain was in Iraq today, complaining during a press conference in the Green Zone that Americans aren’t getting the “full picture” from the media about how safe Iraq is now. “Never have I been able to drive from the airport, never have I been able go out into the city as I was today”. How did he (and other congresscritters) go out into the city? If you guessed wearing body armor, in armored vehicles, with helicopters flying overhead, accompanied by many, many soldiers, you guessed correctly. Isn’t that how everyone goes to market? The delegation went rug-shopping in the largest Baghdad market, where the AP notes that some sellers “would not take money for their souvenirs”. With all those men with guns sweeping through their stalls, they probably thought it was a stick up.

[Update: Newsweek reports: “‘I bought five carpets for five bucks,’ Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina gushed at a presser shortly after the visit.” Ah, the spoils of war! That makes it all worthwhile.]

I asked about the Iraqi police who participated in the massacres in Tal Afar. Still no news, but their very existence is now being denied by the local American commander, Lt. Col. Malcom Frost, Military Moron: “As we investigate this, there’s no indication that this was an inside job... As much as we want war to be, it is not a zero-defect exercise, and unfortunately the enemy sometimes finds a seam. This is the case in this incident.” He went on, “Sometimes you must take half a step back to take two steps forward.” It is unclear if that half a step was the market bombing, which killed 152, or the reprisal massacres of 50 to 70 (such counts are highly political in Iraq, with Frost and the Tal Afar city government giving lower figures than the interior ministry). Like McCain, M.M. Frost chided the media and told it to just grow up already: “It is both foolish and immature to let this one event represent the progress Tal Afar has made.”

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